The potato is a versatile tuber that can serve as the core component of a variety of meals. In addition, potatoes have several benefits that can contribute to the nutrition of your kids, including being low in sodium, cholesterol and saturated fats, as well as being loaded with manganese, potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. So if you have a bag of potatoes and less than an hour to make a meal, fear not, as several quick meal options use potatoes in a variety of ways.
Diced Potato Meals
Dice some potatoes into small bite-sized cubes, saute them in a pan and you will have the basic building blocks for several fast potato meals. For example, make a potato curry by simmering the sauteed, diced potatoes with onions, cauliflower, canned tomatoes and curry powder. Or create potato frittatas -- or open-faced omelets -- by pouring whipped eggs over sauteed, diced potatoes, seasoning with a salad dressing mix and sprinkling on some low-fat cheese. To keep the meal as nutritious as possible, saute the diced potatoes in extra virgin olive oil instead of fatty, cholesterol-loaded butter.
Roasted Potato Meals
Roasted potatoes are the perfect accompaniment for cooked meats, such as grilled chicken, roast beef and pork chops. However, you can also use roasted potatoes to make some quick and easy main courses. Concoct potato tacos by roasting potato slices, putting them inside of healthy, whole-wheat taco tortillas and adding your kids' favorite taco toppings. Put together a potato salad by roasting chunks of potatoes and mixing them in a large bowl with low-fat mayonnaise and fresh herbs. To prevent the potatoes from sticking to the baking sheet during roasting, coat the sheet lightly with extra virgin olive oil or a fat-free cooking spray. Season roasted potatoes with fresh herbs or a salad dressing mix for more flavor.
Don't Forget the Skins
Potato skins are a strong source of fiber, which is a nutrient that aids in digestion. In addition, when you bake them in the oven, potato skins come out crispy and delicious. A classic potato skin meal option is to top the skins with green onions, bacon and cheese. To maximize nutrition, substitute the bacon with turkey bacon, which is lower in fat and cholesterol, and use low-fat cheese. Serve the stuffed skins with a cool fat-free ranch dressing for dipping. An alternative potato skin meal option is to make potato skin pizzas, topping the skins with tomato sauce, low-fat cheese and your kids' favorite pizza toppings. Scoop out the fleshy inner portions of the potatoes and refrigerate or freeze them for future use.
Mashed Potato Meals
Mashed potatoes do not always have to be side dishes for turkey dinners. Transform them into yummy, mushy meals that your kids will love. For example, make a mashed potato medley by mixing the potatoes with flavorful ingredients such as roasted garlic, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and turkey bacon. Alternatively, create breakfast-time treats by forming the mashed potatoes into patties and frying them lightly in extra virgin olive oil. For best results, mash the potatoes with a potato masher or a potato ricer; using an electric mixer can make the potatoes sticky.
Cut some potatoes into skinny, flat slices and you'll be on your way to making a one-dish potato casserole. For a creamy, cheesy casserole, combine the potato slices with low-fat cream, salad dressing mix, skim milk and garlic in an oven-safe dish, sprinkle on some low-fat cheese and bake until the cheese turns a golden color. For a casserole that is less rich -- but not less flavorful -- bake the potato slices in low-sodium stock with some zucchini, onion, basil and other herbs and vegetables. To prevent the potato slices from overcooking, soak them in water before you bake them in the casserole.
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